Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wild Thang


Triangle shawl, mixed fibers; garter stitch; size US 10 wood cable needle, 32 in.

This worked up rather quickly with bulky yarns and carrying two strands. I finished it December 14.  I was inspired by the popcorn yarn that I got in San Diego  three years ago.  I just had to do something crazy with it.  I added two laceweight teal wools knitted together, an old heavy sari silk yarn, a beautiful purple all silk worsted, a couple of complex wild things with metallic strands and a custom dyed strange fleecey yarn by Prism.

It's warm and heavy, works well as a BIG babushka scarf.

Woven stitch - reverse stockinette side

Scarf; mohair, wool, silk; linen or woven stitch; size 5 vintage aluminum needles, 14 in.

I'm using different values of gray, alternating light and dark values so that this verticle stripes effect appears on the revers side. I'm becoming obsessed with this effect and am trying it in all kinds of fibers and gauges. It's very lightweight, warm and fuzzy.

Cotton and linen for spring

Scarf, cotton and cotton/linen/viscose blend, stockinette with garter ridges, size 7 needles

The linen gives this scarf heft and drape, and I adore the sea green sort of background with the standout ridges in different colors.

Eyelets in stockinette

Triangle shawl, silk and mohair yarns, size 4 US vintage plastic cable needle, 24 in.

I'm playing with this eyelet pattern in a basic stockinette stitch because I can add four stitches each row and easily maintain the pattern.  The mohair yarn is very fine, so the contrast with the thick one ply silk is striking, and it makes a nice variation on the stockinette pattern.

More garter stitch!

Scarf, mixed fibers, lace weight, garter stitch, on size 0 US size cable needle, 24 in

I'm using both ends of a skein of Taiyo lace weight yarn by Noro for this scarf, still enthralled by the garter stitch pattern from the Chrisstofferson book.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

In the Studio - alternating rows

This Habu silk ribbon I recently picked up from Fabulous Yarns seemed like a good match to work with a Noro yarn made of abaca fiber that I got several years ago.

I like it!

Since I had a second color way of the Noro yarn I went back to Fabulous Yarns and picked up the red silk ribbon - it's another nice match.

I figured out that I could do the alternating rows technique in seed stitch that Christoffersson developed for garter stitch.  

If you click the "Look Inside" link for the book on the Amazon page, the pattern is the Two Colors Garter Stitch Four rows, #1. The blues and greens color way above is exactly that pattern.  The reds one is my seed stitch variation.  You don't have to cut the yarns, just keep alternating them each row.  I am trying this is about six different projects right now.  I'm obsessed with seeing how wonderful it is with different yarns.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In the Studio - two Noro skeins in alternating colors

Two skeins of Noro yarn in the same color way

Alternating the skeins every row in garter stitch

Scarf, garter stitch, wool, size 3 US cable needle 16 in.

Watching how the colors change in the two different skeins is lovely.  The wool feels very good as it glides through my fingers.  This will be a wide scarf, about 10 inches, so with the fine gauge it's a little slow going.

In the Studio - silk scarf

Scarf, seed stitch, silk, US size 5 wood needles, 10 in.

This is a combination of four yarns, three colors of Peau de Soie from Fabulous Yarns fabulousyarns.com and one Indian silk yarn from Colorful Stitches www.colorful-stitches.com  Although the recommended needles size is US 7, I am using a smaller needle to get a more firm fabric.  It's still got a lovely drape, so I am very happy.  It has a texture that is very smooth and richly soft.

Friday, September 27, 2013

In the Studio - Freia handpaints in garter stitch

Scarf, wool, garter stitch, alternating rows using two color sequences of the same colorway, size 3 wood cable needle, 24 in.

I got the alternating rows pattern from Pop Knitting and now I'm obsessed with it.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In the Studio: capelet of tencel and cotton

Capelet, cotton and tencel blend, seedstitch, size 5 cable needle.

I've noticed that in the knitting magazines and on the websites that people are using the term "cowl" interchangeably with capelet. In my mind it's just a small poncho, but the word poncho has apparently become so gauche that many people are unwilling to use it.

At any rate, this capelet is beautifully soft due to the tencel fiber in the cotton, and I have enough yarn so that it will have a nice cowl-like collar.  I am knitting it from the bottom to the top, and will soon decrease the stitches to form a nice shoulder line.  I will do that at about 7 inches from the bottom

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In the Studio: a capelet in black yarns

Capelet, mixed fibers,seed stitch, aluminum cable needle US size 9

This has been in the work-in-progress bin for quite awhile and I'm hoping to complete it this month.  It's a favorite type of fabric that is lacey because fine gauge yarns are used with large needles. It has a pom pom yarn and a squiggle yarn as well as an old railroad yarn in it - quite the wild child.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cotton scarf - complete

Scarf, stockinette on large and small needles, cotton yarn, size 4 and size 10 needles, wood, 14 in., 65 in length, 12 in width.

The subtle stipes are created by using size 4 needles for 4 rows and size 10 needles for 6 rows.  It's an engaging and easy way to get a little bit extra texture for stockinette.  I really enjoyed working with this Rowan "Handknit Cotton" because the twist makes the yarn beautifully smooth.

The next baby binkie

Baby blanket, knitted, chevron stitch, organic undyed cotton, size 7 cable needle.

The previous blankie was so enjoyable that when I received the announcement of the birth of my friend's first daughter I got the needles and the organic cotton out right away!  The blanket is about 20x30.  I am using Pakucho cotton, which is selected for color rather than dyed.  It's beautifully soft, although I still don't have a grip on how much it shrinks.  But I figure it will do very well in the washer and dryer and generally be a blanket that doesn't have to be saved for special occasions.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Baby binkie - complete

Baby blanket, chevron stitch, organic undyed cotton, size 7 bamboo cable needle.

I really enjoyed making this organic cotton blanket and it helped me get over my reluctance to make baby blankets. The chevron stitch is fascinating  and I think the wide stripes are a good fit for this classic stitch pattern.

Railroad and Mohair Shawl - complete

Shawl, seed stitch, mohair, nylon and rayon, size 8 rosewood cable needle

I have several hundreds of yarns of South West Trading Company  "Melody" yarn in a pinky beige color and I always enjoy using Melody with mohair yarns because the little shiny rayon bits look wonderful with the fuzzy mohairs. The shawl was about 67 in across the top and about 20 inches deep at the triangle point.

This is a loose, diaphanous fabric.

I donated it to an auction to raise money for our Washington Park Conservancy here in Albany.

Silk and linen traingle shawl

Triangle shawl, seed stitch, two silk yarns and a nylon core with linen paper flags yarn, size 3 bamboo cable needle

The fine gauge of this piece resulting in a couple years between start and finish.  All the yarns are from Habu textiles, although I bought them in different places. For this shawl I pre-cut lengths of each yarn and then as I knit along I chose and incorporated each strand.  So the fabric has random areas of each of the yarns.  The silks are soft, and the linen flags are just a bit crispy now, but will soften as they are washed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Handpaints - complete!

The handpaints capelet is finished with a ruffle on the bottom


Mohair from South Africa

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Old stash and new stash together

Yesterday I was at The Warm Ewe in Chatham, New York and everything was on sale!  So I couldn't resist the charming fleecy yarns.  I have been mulling over the Great Adirondak fleece with gold and silver flecks since I got it at the NYSSheep and Wool Festival in the fall of 2011.  This new pale yellow-green fleece seems to take down the intensity level of the colors in the older fleece, and so I think I'm going to make this up into a nice bulky shawl.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Statement and Biography

Artist Statement

Knitting is a hand looming technique that uses a strand of fiber and two sticks to form and intertwine loops in such a way that they create a stable and sometimes stretchy fabric. I knit all the items I produce without using assistants or apprentices. All the processes I use are manual processes or those that may use a very simple apparatus such as a yarn swift and a ball winder. The stitch by stitch nature of this process allows for fine control of the content and texture of the fabric. The yarns I use are from all over the world and include, silk, wool, cotton, linen, nylon, polyester, metallic fibers, viscose, tencel, acrylic, alpaca, acetate, mohair, cashmere and rayon.

I knit in order to create beautiful textiles in ancient forms such as wraps and scarves.  I often seek a wide range of yarns, sometimes more than 30 or 40 to create one fabric.  The colors and surface design of each piece grow through a duly considered process of color and fiber selection and combination. In some pieces it is important to select a smooth yarn that will highlight the fabric pattern. In other pieces it is more desirable to use wildly different yarns with extraordinary texture created by yarn combinations rather than a fabric pattern. I am endlessly attracted to the combination of utility and beauty.

Bio: Lorre Smith

During an adolescence of artistic explorations with various media Lorre undertook private lessons in design from local artist Larry Banghart then progressed through various needle arts experiences in patchwork and quilting, embroidery, knitting, crochet, garment sewing and tailoring.  After several weeks of intense instruction in arts and creativity from Oakland, CA artist Alan Leon during 2004, hand looming proceeded to take center stage, with occasional forays into drawing, painting, mixed media, assemblage and collage arts and just about all other fiber arts. Ongoing influences include English needlewoman  Erica Wilson, English painter Kaffe Fasset, who has also explored fiber arts, Irish knitter and designer Maggie Jackson, and Alexander Calder, whose lesser known pieces include a series of fiber works. Her most recent knitting teacher is the English yarn and knitwear designer Louisa Harding.

She creates hand-loomed textiles using primitive tools: small sticks and hooks.  By creating interlocking loops and combining many yarns, she develops sophisticated fabrics.  Using primitive tools allows the most control over the way the yarns and threads fit together and the way the fiber colors blend or contrast with one another. She generally creates very simple shapes so that the textiles themselves are the fundamental essence of the art.  She also creates textiles that are not possible to create by machine. The texture of the fabric is as important as its visual design qualities. Textiles can evoke serious, sensual or whimsical moods, and each person brings out various elements of their personality and appearance when wearing them. The colors and surface design of each piece grow through a considered process of color and fiber selection, a determination of how delicate or bulky the textile will be then how each yarn will be incorporated into the fabric. In some pieces it is important to select a smooth yarn that will highlight the fabric pattern. In other pieces it is more desirable to use wildly different yarns with extraordinary texture created by yarn combinations rather than a fabric pattern.

Lorre’s work is available at:
LOCAL in Lenox, Massachusettes; 
Elissa Halloran Designs, Albany, New York. 

Lorre documents the on-going progress of her work in two blogs:

January 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A new capelet

I couldn't resist casting on with this beautiful yarn from Freia Fine Handpaints.

I'm doing this capelet in a stockinette and reverse stockinette, 3 rows reverse and 5 rows stockinette.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

linen and mohair from the in progress bin

This fine gauge fabric is fascinating and infuriating - the boucle mohair is quite ornery and the little loops are always catching the needle points at the wrong moment.  The fabric is soft and warm.

After getting this far I flung it into the in progress bag, but now I am ready to work with the fine gauge again and have sworn to work in bright lighting.  The olive color of the mohair is difficult to see clearly.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Faded jade basketweave


The light makes this look like two different fabrics, but it is the same piece.  It will be a giant scarf of wool and bamboo blend yarn.  It is currently about half way finished. The yarn is a worsted weight and I am using size 10 needles, 14" in length.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I've got the big needles out again - playing with lots of yarn.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

From the in-progress bag: mohair, silk and linen

This has been in the old in-progress bag for a couple years, so it's been nice to get it out and try to recall what I was doing.  I think I finished it well after studying in the sequence of colors.  The teal greens weren't captured all that well by the camera, but they are a lovely complement to the tan yarns.  I took this to the Byrdcliffe Guild shop in Woodstock, New York yesterday.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finished - blue silk shawl

This one was a real pleasure.  I delivered it to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild shop in Woodstock, New York along with 12 other pieces today.  Now:  rest!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Five more rows for the blue silk

This is a chained yarn, meaning it was not spun, but created by taking a thread of silk and making a bulky yarn by chain stitching it. So one can literally pull the strand width-wise and it will be a lacy, wide ribbon.  This is how the trendy ruffle yarns all work, only they are on a very big scale.  I have knitted this shawl using the technique of putting the needle through  a few loops of the chain, then pulling a few loops of the chain through.  So it is a little bit of a ruffle.  It's quite bulky but light, because the silk is so airy.  I like the look of the wavy surface which is not quite ruffly.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two out of three will be complete by day's end

Black silk and wool capelet in seed stitch

Blue silk shawl in modified garter stitch

Blue cotton shawl in rib stitch

I've got my day planned around completing a couple of these and it will be easy to do the light blue silk  shawl and the black capelet.  The capelet row lengths are getting smaller as I reach the neckline and the blue silk rows are getting longer, but there are only 15 more rows to get done.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Black silk and merino - a capelet with a history

Sometimes it takes awhile to get me started, and sometimes starting is easy but there's that big middle-of-the-project stretch where it spends more time in the old "in progress" bag than it does in my hands.  This was begun in a press to get things ready for a show in early 2012, but then was put aside for more urgent priorities, so now I'm within a few inches of finishing after letting it mellow for almost a year. For the earlier posts on this piece click on the dates below.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Silk rufflish

Beginning with S. Charles "sari" chained silk yarn I have knit garter stitch in the same way one knits using the wide-band "ruffle" yarns that enjoyed trendiness last year.  The yarn is very bulky and the knitting technique gives it a ruched texture - it's soft!  I'm using a cable needle in a size 7.

Thursday, January 03, 2013